Dear Parents and Carers
I hope that everyone has had a good summer. We are very much looking forward to welcoming our new Year 7 students this week and other students who are joining us and new to our school community, notably in Year 12 – it is going to be great to have you on board. We are also really looking forward to all of our students being in school; as I wrote in July, things will be slightly different but we will be properly together again as a school community and that is simply wonderful.
Please find on the school website under the Announcements tab here; http://www.wallingfordschool.com/index.php/announcements/returning-to-school-in-september a range of documents about the Return to School. One of these is our revised Arrangements in School for September 2020 document which we originally circulated in July and have now revised. If you have not done so already, please do read through it carefully with your son or daughter so that he or she is aware of how we will be operating in school for the foreseeable future. Form tutors will be going through the detail with all tutor groups later this week in order to provide reassurance and answer any questions students may have.
This document is in line with the revised Government guidance which was published on Friday evening - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools. It is worth mentioning that the Government guidance regarding face masks remains that they are not required in school in areas which are not in local lockdown or restrictions. Our position as a school since June is that we are comfortable with students or staff wearing face masks in communal areas of the school if this makes them feel comfortable but not in classrooms. This remains the case and we will continue to review this in line with Government guidance in the coming weeks.
There are several references within the Arrangements in School for September 2020 document to tutor and year group “bubbles” and these groupings of students are an important part of our planning. We are very mindful that our “vertical” House system in which students from Years 7 to 11 are led by a Head of House presents challenges in supporting students when the focus is on “horizontal” year groups.
We have therefore decided that we will be operating with a Head of Year structure on a temporary basis from September rather than a Head of House structure. The requirement for a pastoral system that can operate alongside tutor and year group bubbles and the varying needs that different year groups both joining and returning to us will have has led us to this decision.
I can confirm that the following will be in positions as Heads of Year:
The House system will still be in operation for enrichment activities, notably the broad range of competitions which our students enjoy, and we will be communicating more about this in the coming weeks.
We are going to continue to develop our “virtual” communication with home over the coming weeks and months particularly as we cannot have the normal range of events in school which we usually hold at this time of year. We have a number of virtual information evenings scheduled for the coming weeks which will include a welcome from each Head of Year and an overview of key events and curriculum information for each year group – more to follow on this.
In the meantime, we very much look forward to welcoming Years 7 and 12 on Thursday and the rest of the school back on Friday.